Without question, Nicaragua offers high-quality healthcare with several highly specialized healthcare centers/hospitals in the greater Managua area. The most prominent hospitals in Managua are the Vivian Pellas Metropolitan Hospital, Hospital Bautista, and the Military Hospital (which accommodates everybody).
Several hospitals and private clinics in Leon, Granada, and Matagalpa provide high-quality healthcare at an affordable price. For minor scrapes, stomach/intestinal problems, cold and flu, all the cities we’ve mentioned have their own Centro de Salud (Health Center) which administers the examination and any medicine you need free of charge. Nicaragua has a socialized medicine program and you don’t have to pay for routine visits. Generally speaking, wherever you are in Nicaragua, a doctor’s visit costs just $25. A house call is only $35. A lab test is $10 to $15 depending on the scope of work.
There is no health insurance in Nicaragua as we know it (you can look into international medical insurance), but Vivian Pellas Metropolitan Hospital offers a two-tiered program that works just like it. For a nominal yearly fee (based on age and pre-existing conditions), you can benefit from great discounts for lab work, surgeries, hospital stays, illness maintenance and prescriptions.
If you are not interested in this program, be assured that the prices for services are about a tenth of what it would cost at home. Here are some examples:
- Ultrasound: about $25
- Overnight hospital stay: about $100 maximum
- Electrocardiogram: about $25
- Endoscopy: about $200
- Biopsy: about $40 each
- Routine dental cleaning: about $25
- Porcelain crown: about $200
At the Metropolitan hospital you can also elect to join their Gold or Silver package. Here are the benefits for the Gold package:
- Discounts of up to 70% on diagnostic tests, hospitalization, surgery, and intensive care.
- Discounts of up to 50% on physical therapy and rehabilitation.
- Discounts of up to 30% on pharmaceuticals and medical supplies.
- Discounts of up to 20% for doctors’ visits (though the doctor must be in-network).
Costs for this package vary, depending on age and pre-existing conditions, but general rates per month are: Age 41-50, $50; 51-65, $61; and over 65 – $65.
Some resident expats do warn, however, that some of the high-tech equipment you’d expect to find in U.S. hospitals might not be available in Managua. So they advise you to purchase MedEvac insurance (which costs about $250 a year) to ensure that in case of an emergency you’ll be airlifted by jet to Houston or Miami from Nicaragua.